Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino’s engagement to Kei Komuro has been officially announced by the Imperial Household of Japan. As a result of her marriage, the Princess will lose her royal status and since Kei is a commoner.
The pair appeared together on public broadcaster NHK to announce their pending nuptials. Her Imperial Highness works as a researcher at the University of Tokyo Museum while her fiancée works in a Tokyo law office. They first met as students at the International Christian University five years ago.
During the interview, Mako said that she was first attracted to Kei’s “bright smiles like the sun.” She added that, over time, she learned that he is “a sincere, strong-minded, hard worker, and he has a big heart.”
She also spoke about her desire for a happy family, “Having a family still goes beyond my imagination, but I hope to make one that is warm, comfortable and filled with smiles.”
Komuro, for his part, said that he was thankful and happy to be accepted by the Imperial Family.
Exact details about the wedding have not been announced, but it is expected to take place in the autumn of next year.
The 25-year-old is the eldest grandchild of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and the older child of Fumihito, Prince Akishino and Kiko, Princess Akishino. Her younger brother, Prince Hisahito, 10, is one of only four heirs to the throne, as women are not permitted to reign in their own right.
The Emperor expressed his desire to abdicate last year in a televised address; it is expected to take place by the end of 2018 in a one-off law written by the Japanese parliament. Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed his father who is only followed in the line of succession by his younger brother and nephew.